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Privacy-Enhancing Computation: Data Protection Technologies

  • 11-12 min read
  • July 16, 2021
  • 👍 Rating — 5 (4 votes)

The amount of data generated and processed every day is enormous.  Thanks to modern technologies, it can be structured, managed, and protected. These data protecting techs are called privacy-enhancing computation, Gartner`s 2021 tech trend.

The probabilities of data privacy violations and hacker attacks grow simultaneously. About 82% of all internet users refuse to give their real personal information to websites and applications because of the fear of being announced to third-parties. Gartner has also published the full list of technological trends for 2021. Among them were nine main trends that are predicted to be inevitable for implementing to boost business productivity and digitalize the workflow of business companies. It is worth shortly describe each of these tech trends:

  1. Total-experience – emphasizes the necessity to provide a high level of the user, customer, and employee experiences; only the combination of the experiences can boost the productivity of the business company. 
  2. Hyper Automation – recommends automating with the technological system as many work processes in the company it is possible.
  3. Privacy-enhancing computation – aims to keep all data confidential, especially when it is processed on the third-parties hardware.
  4. Anywhere operations – remote access to all business processes.
  5. Distributed cloud – use of public cloud storage to save data and reduce expenses for private cloud maintenance.
  6. Internet of Behavior – gathering and analyzing data from various sources to define the behavior of employees or users and influence it.
  7. Cybersecurity mesh – scalable cybersecurity approach to protect data from hacker attacks
  8. AI – provides better customer experience thanks to chatbots
  9. Intelligent composable business – helps the companies be ready to work uninterruptedly under any circumstances
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Gartner`s trends 2021
We would like to bring to your attention two more blog posts about Gartner`s tech trends 2021 – Hyperautomation and Total experience. Click the link to find out more details about these technological implementations.

We would like to detail discuss one of these Gartner trends – privacy-enhancing computation and why it is necessary to consider and implement these technologies into business work processes.

What is privacy-enhancing computation?

privacy-enhancing computation

There is no accurate definition of what privacy-enhancing computation is. It is a group of various technologies that help to achieve the highest level of private data protection. 

Privacy-enhancing computation control technologies that support privacy and data protection from violations and hacker attacks. This trend provides sharing data and keeps its security and privacy simultaneously. This tech trend contains three forms:

  • provide a trusted environment where data can be processed securely
  • analytics through privacy-aware machine learning
  • data and algorithms transformation including homomorphic encryption to keep the data confidential and multiparty computation

Due to Gartner, the privacy-enhancing computation trend is not easy to implement in most businesses. This process is long-lasting as the integration should be quick and accurate.

It is an interesting fact that 27% of internet users never enter their real personal data when registering on the website, app, or any other system where it is allowed to hide private information.

These statistics show that a huge number of people still don’t trust modern technological tools that aim to protect their privacy. One of the reasons can be a lack of knowledge about these technologies and how they actually work. In this article below we would like to discuss modern privacy tech and what its main features are.

Reasons for implementing PETs

When users enter their personal data into any website, application, and other forms, they want to ensure that it will be kept private. The data store providers have to have full control and management of this information. Getting a high level of security is not a complex task anymore. Thanks to modern privacy techs, the users` data will be secure for 100%.

We would like to highlight the common reason for implementing data protecting technological tools.


Harm prevention
The absence of protection can lead to easy access to information by anyone who wants to own it without any permission. It can be various types of information like social media accounts, bank accounts, data in a cloud store, etc. It can harm the privacy of the users and have an effect on their lives for a long time. 
Unfair conditions
Users can not track the activities performed with their data when they trust it to third-party providers. They don’t sign up for any contracts, all they can do is to agree with terms and conditions or privacy policy. However, they can not ensure if all rules are followed. That’s why there are data protection laws and governmental regulation of its use. Each violation can be challenged and judged. 
Misrepresentation
In the case of personal data disclosure, it can be used for questionable purposes and can harm the individuals. The meaning of the initial information can be changed, for example, taken from one area and published for another one. The point of this data changes, and it can discriminate against the individuals. 
Human dignity violation
Absence or lack of privacy can change individuals’ behavior. If people know their info can be tracked by other users, their decisions will be changed and distorted. Most internet users don’t want to differ a lot from other users and behave out of character. It leads to misjudgments for a person in real life and violation of human dignity. all users have to understand that not all information is real even if it seems to be personal. 
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Users` concerns
According to recent statistics, from 70% to 89.5% of all active Internet users are concerned about the privacy and security of their personal data.

Privacy-enhancing technologies

The privacy-enhancing computation trend involves a range of different modern technologies that aim to protect personal data in various methods.

Homomorphic encryption

This technology lets computation on encrypted data for third-party providers. It means that the data will be confidential but can be processed. As we mentioned above, people`s private data is used in many spheres like medical, banking, working, etc. Homomorphic encryption provides the ability to process this data by a general index without the need for private information. Thus, a required part of data can be unencrypted only by those who have the particular keys to access for performing different computations on it.

Trusted execution environments

A trusted execution environment or TEE is a safe environment for the main device separately from the operating system. It provides a high level of protection for data while it is being stored or processed. TEE applies the function of trusting or not your device to other devices, to allow or forbid access to the location, photo gallery, and other data for third-parties providers and other applications. It also can ask for a password, authentication code, email or phone verification, etc. 

Multi-party computation

Multi-party computation is a cryptographic protocol that allows analyzing various data without violating privacy. It means the data from several parties can be distributed and analyzed, and no party can not see the initial data.

Differential privacy

Differential privacy is an algorithm that analyzes data and generates its statistics. It hides the individual data and shows the general dataset. The algorithm almost does not change if an individual joins or leaves the dataset. It guarantees the protection of individual-level information.

Personal data stores

A personal data store (PDS) is general access to individual data and the ability to upload, share, change, or delete this data by the data owner. It can contain addresses, phone numbers, passport data, bank accounts histories, electronic health records, etc. This technology enables controlling own data by each individual. A personal data store aims to provide the opportunity to add or take out the private data on the third-party providers’ side. This type of stores has a range of benefits for a business like:

  • more effective gathering and keeping data
  • absence of law risks to announce private data without permission
  • the data can be easily updated

Our developers are experienced specialists with advanced skills and easily can find the appropriate solution for your business company to protects private data. They know how to accurately implement privacy-enhancing technologies to make the data protection processes more effective for your project.

Privacy-enhancing trend use

information lifecycle

Any enterprise and facility want to keep their data private under all conditions. Privacy-enhancing technologies make it much easier and reliable. The main purpose of this trend is to encrypt data that is processed on the third-parties hardware. The use of thee techs is vast and can be applied in various industries like:

Business

Most business companies are constantly dealing with huge amounts of data – internal as well as customers`. It can be phone numbers, addresses, emails, photos, and other documents. Each client wants to be sure that their personal information will not be announced to third parties without their permission. PETs are essential for implementing companies that process customers` private data as their reputation and reliability depend on it. 

Finances

Establishments that do business with their customers` finances and bank accounts data demand the highest level of protecting this data. Banks and other financial facilities take a huge responsibility for keeping the data confidential and protect it from any hacker attacks. As customers provide payments on different online shops, apps, etc., using their account number, the financial institutions have to ensure that the private data won’t be accessed by third-parties. 

Healthcare

Due to digitalization, the healthcare industry implements electronic health records systems to save accurate data about each patient and track their states of health. Some patients` data can be shared to research the inauspicious effects of particular treatments and drug influences. Privacy-enhancing computation technologies ensure that specific patients` data will be kept secure. 

Applications

Web and mobile applications are usually maintained by third-party providers. They apply changes, updates, and testing processes. PETs help to reduce access to users` data without affecting the process of maintaining the app. This trend supports both sides – customers and providers to keep a high rank.

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Benefits of PET

Ready to discuss what benefits privacy-enhancing technologies implementing can bring to your business industry?

PETs use

As all privacy-enhancing technologies were counted above, we would like to discuss where these technologies are used and what functions they perform to protect users` private data. 


Anonymizers
This tool is related to users` behavior on the web. Its main aim is to hide the real geolocation, email, and other information about users. It is not also hidden but replaced by inexisting data like accidental emails, nicknames, IP addresses. It can perform for one website, mail, messenger as well as for the browser. 
Fake accounts
This method is usually used when a user wants to create an account on a specific website or apps and doesn’t want to show the real personal information. Such users create fake emails, use false names and contacts, fictional bio, interest, etc. These bogus accounts can also be used for more serious aims than social media. It adds the user to a particular system but doesn’t show the real data.
Confusing data
Confusing private data is one of the good practices to protect it. The account can be real and contains true information. Along with it, users can add mixing-up facts and distracting data elements. This method hides the personal real information with masking techniques and specific algorithms. So in case of a hacker attack, it will be much more complicated to recognize the required data. 
Private data access
This example applies differential privacy technology. Each individual has constant access to their data, can change, update and delete it at the user’s own discretion. It means that some data disappears forever and can not be kept or used anymore. 
EPID
This is a kind of digital signature that is created to identify the group or system members without showing who it is. The key is usually complex and consists of several verification steps.
Pseudonymization
This technique aims to identify private data with pseudonyms and hide the real content. It does not influence data analysis or data processing. It is used to cover the individual as well as group information. 

FAQ

The privacy-enhancing tech trend contains a range of data protection technologies: 1. Homomorphic encryption; 2. Trusted execution environment; 3. Multi-party computation; 4. Differential privacy; 5. Personal data store.
Protecting data is actually in all spheres as each individual wants to be sure that their personal data will not be announced to third-parties. like a business, social media, banking, healthcare areas.
Privacy-enhancing techs provide a range of advantages for business. Among them are the automation of some work processes and reducing manual work, management of personal data by each worker, and others depending on the individual needs of the company.

All in all

The amount of data being processed on the web is huge, and it continues to grow every day. When people are asked to fill in their personal information, they want to be sure that this info will be announced, published, or stolen. It concerns all spheres of their lives – from social media to bank account data. 

Today there is a wide range of technological tools to help protect data in different ways. Some of these methods process the individual data, others can protect vast amounts of information. Most internet users want to stay anonymous, even if they use delivery services. Thanks to privacy-enhancing technologies, the security borders continue to expand their abilities and level of anonymity.

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PET integration

Want to know what are the methods of privacy-enhancing technologies integrating and use that can suit your company?

Creator

Due to my Master`s Degree in journalism, I focus on the details while doing the research on the topic. My particular curiosity is about the latest mobile app developments that start in 2015 that make life easier and save much time to spend it more productive. I am an expert in reviewing and consulting web projects related to web applications, especially if they are connected with wearables.
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